to Bite into Food Market

Though online behemoth started out in 1995 as a bookseller, its most recent expansion plan may make it a butcher and baker as well: The Seattle-based company is reportedly just a few months away from launching a one-stop food shop.

According to “The Wall Street Journal,” Amazon is talking to a variety of food marketers, including Omaha Steaks and Dan’s Chocolates, about putting their catalogs in the Amazon food store. The food store, which could open as soon as August, will likely be run the same way as Amazon operates its apparel store: Amazon will take a cut of the orders processed through its site but leave the warehousing and shipping of goods to the individual food marketers.

Amazon declined to confirm or comment on its plans for the food store. “But if people think that we’re doing it, and they want to be part of it, they should get in touch with us,” says Bill Curry, spokesperson for the $3.93 billion company. “We always love to hear from potential partners.”

Forrester Research estimates that food and beverage sales on the Internet will increase more than 40% from 2002, totaling $3.7 billion this year. More than 65% of the online food sales come from traditional catalogers; Web grocers account for the rest.

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